Ford partners with Postmates on self-driving delivery pilot

Self-driving cars could be a boon to this type of service, Sherif Marakby, Ford vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, said in a blog post announcing the partnership.

The Ford Motor Company and on-demand delivery specialist Postmates have teamed up to "to explore the sustainable application of self-driving technologies within local economies".

Ford and Postmates will conduct pilot programs with self-driving cars throughout the year, Marakby said.

The companies also didn't elaborate on how Postmates customers would receive deliveries - there will be someone in the vehicle - but said users will follow instructions provided via the app. "With the knowledge we'll gain from our partnership with Postmates, we anticipate we'll be able to better deploy self-driving technology in a way that can help people get what they need faster, while also supporting local businesses that are a big part of communities around the world". "Maybe some things work perfectly with autonomous vehicles, maybe some things don't".

Ford unveiled a suite of announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show today that are aimed at furthering the company's ambitions to power smart cities and find new applications for autonomous vehicles.

As well as piloting the vehicle technology, the tests will allow Ford to test its new partnership platform which may underpin its future business model.

Ford is working with Qualcomm to connect autonomous vehicles with pedestrians, traffic signals and cyclists.

Speaking of communicating vehicles, Ford and Qualcomm are working together on a system called Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X), which will enable cars that have cellular chips to communicate with one another, as well as to a set of outside services.

Ford also announced a cloud-based smart city platform, created to facilitate communication between various transportation methods and services operating within them, including individual vehicle data.